Monday, July 29, 2013

Count William zu Waldburg-Zeil killed in car accident

July 29, 1927

Count Wilhelm zu Waldburg-Zeil was killed today in a "motoring accident" on the Oberalp Pass in Switzerland, reports the New York Times.   His wife, and her aunt, Princess Maria Theresa, were not "seriously injured."

When Count, who was driving the car, reached the top of the Pass, 6,720 feed above sea level," he "declared that he was tired," and he asked his wife to take over the driving. They had only just begun their descent when the car "dashed over the parapet."

The car somersaulted several times before landing forty feet below.  The two women were "flung out" of the car before it landed.   Neither women suffered serious injuries, but Count Wilhelm, 37, was "instantly killed" as he was pinned under the car.  Several tourists who witnessed the accident were able to extract his body from under the car.

Countess Wilhelm and the Dowager Princess of Waldburg-Zeil were taken to a hotel on the Oberalp.

The accident was apparently caused by "the brakes failing."

Count Maria Gustav Wilhelm Karl Maximilian of Waldburg-Zeil, was born at the family's castle in Zeil on January 19, 1890.  He and his family lived at Schloss Rimpach at Leutkirch in Württemberg.  He had served in the military, and retired cavalry captain.

He married Countess Maria Theresa of Salm-Reifferscheidt-Raitz at Vienna on September 28, 1921.  Her aunt, who is also named Maria Theresa, is married to the late Count Wilhelm's uncle, Georg, who was head of the house of Waldburg-Zeil, until he was killed in battle in France in September, 1918. 

The current head of the Waldburg-Zeil is Ernst August,  the second son of Prince Georg and Princess Maria Theresa.  He became the heir after the eldest son, Eberhard, was killed in action in 1916.

The late Count Wilhelm leaves behind his widow and two young daughters, Countess Marie Gabrielle, who will celebrate her 5th birthday on September 1, and two year-old Countess Elisabeth.

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